MIND: Path to Thalamus is a First Person Puzzler that throws you into a fantastic and surreal environment. You will bend the natural elements to your will in order to progress in this emotive, mindbending tale.
User reviews: Very Positive (481 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 5, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"Very beautiful narrative focussed experience with some light puzzle elements. Recommended if you like games like Dear Esther."

Recent updates View all (7)

February 25

Oculus VR Olive in MIND: Path to Thalamus!!!

Hi everyone!

I am Carlos Coronado, currently redoing MIND: Path to Thalamus in the UE4 and VR. In this thread I would like to show you something I've been working in the last months: my approach to first person controllers for VR. To sum up, I've been watching how we humans behave when we walk and turn and I've tried to imitate this process in the VR. No, this is not about realism. This is about a more natural way to control shooters in VR.

For me, moving the direction of the player's body with the left mouse or joystick has always been a problem, because when we do so, the feeling we get is the entire world is rotating, but our physical head has not moved at all and that may cause dizziness to a lot of people. In the other hand, as VR developers I think we want the player to move the head (but not too much so they don't feel tired) to get a better inmersion and this new system I've made is also a good way to achieve that. Let's get to the point.

If you want to rotate your body, first you look at the direction where you want to rotate, then you press the "rotate body" button (could be anything: left trigger, E, Q, a number, middle mouse button...) and then your body rotates where you are looking at. This button also have a second mode: if you constantly press the button, your body wil always rotate where you are looking at. Amazing for running! So... yes... you are moving the player with just one hand and rotating him with just one button! Then, what awesome stuff can be do with the other hand (the mouse hand or the right joystick hand)? Well, let's use it for shooting! Use the mouse to move a crosshair in the screen... just like in on-rails shooter arcade games such as Time Crisis or The House of the Dead. What about aiming? Well, I've done some tests and aiming doesn't feel good at all. I mean, it is indeed too realistic to work in a game. Fortunately, there're good news still. I have tested this with a lot of people and about 75% of them prefer this new way of controlling shooters. Of course, there is a 25% that still prefer the old school way. Don't worry. With this system the right button is free to use and while you hold it down, you will move your player as you have always been doing... but with 100% free screenspace to aim!

There is still a lot to do, but I think this is completed enough to show this to the world. A big company working in VR asked me to show this to them and so I did a month ago. No answer from them still so if they are not interested I hope you are! To sum up:

- WASD or joystick to move the body
- Look somewhere, then press the "rotate body" button to reorient your body in that direction
- Constantly press the "rotate body" button to always rotate your body where you are looking at
- shooting and aiming as in time crisis games
- gets rids of the tank mode problems in the old school method
- no limits, tricks ore workarounds like moving the mouse in the center of the screen is used for aiming and moving a lot the mouse is used for rotating

Well... here are three videos showing how the system works. Sorry for my English. This was all improvised and I didn't had time to make a script for it.

Movement

Shooting

Menus and Objects

5 comments Read more

December 29, 2014

Merry Oculus Rift Christmas

UE4 Oculus Rift version.

And a happy new wip Linux version!

Of course, everything is work in progress and no release date yet :)

6 comments Read more

Reviews

“As visual, explorable art, it’s masterful. As a puzzle game, it’s rewarding and taxing.”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“Stunning, intelligent, fun, Mind is a game that deserves to be remembered for a long time to come.”
5/5 – The Telegraph

“This game is fantastic. It’s a legit puzzle game. It is beautiful. Go out and buy it”
Jesse Cox

About This Game

MIND: Path to Thalamus is a First Person Puzzler that throws you into a fantastic and surreal environment. You will bend the natural elements to your will in order to progress in this emotive, mind-bending tale.

Change the entire environment!

Wrapped in a mind-bending tale, the gameplay of “MIND” focuses on changing the very weather in order to solve puzzles: the player will cycle between day and night, modify the levels of fog and rain and even travel in time between seasons, changing the environment to advance the gameplay-driven story —indeed, the mechanics are directly related to who the protagonist is, what has happened to him and everything he is doing: a man trapped in his own mind, he must use all the tools at his disposition to escape to reality. Accompanied by the snarky yet heartfelt narration of this comatose patient, the player will guide him through fantastical forests, dark caverns and deceptive worlds of water and ice that directly relate to his emotional state at each point in his journey.

Features

  • More than 30 different, creative puzzles seamlessly integrated into the environment.
  • 6 ways to affect the environment in order to solve the puzzles
  • More than 20 distinct landscapes into with which you will be able to interact.
  • Turn day to night, make it so everything is covered by a blinding fog, summon incredible storms, travel to the past and make use of even more as of yet unknown mechanics.
  • More than an hour of voice acting that, while integrated into the gameplay itself, will tell you a whole story that is not about saving the world but about living through the pain of a father broken by his mistakes.
  • Face down imposing climactic enemies by using your creativity and everything you have learnt along the way.
  • 22 achievements full of Easter eggs and references

Who are we?


Developed by Carlos Coronado Carlos Coronado, Dani Navarro y Luka Nieto. Aditional code by Jose Ladislao. Voice by Greg Nugent.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo E4300 1.8GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 7600 GS
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4Ghz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce GTX 660
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
30 of 31 people (97%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 16, 2014
A great first-person puzzler let down by weak writing and voice acting, Mind: Path to Thalamus makes amends for its crimes against literature with magnificent achievements in visual design and an almost Valve-like ability to guide players without explicit pointers. Each and every major puzzle is of just the right difficulty: head-scratchingly confusing at first, then delightfully simple and logical later. Ignore the story and this is easily one of the best looking and most intelligent games of 2014.
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18 of 18 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 15
I’m torn with this one.

I love first person puzzle games and I love games that explore psychology. People’s minds, their inner torment, dreams, nightmares, thoughts and aspirations. So with that I imagine it’s pretty hard to put something so… deep, I guess? …Into a game, have it make sense and have the visuals live up to the vast imagination and expectation of others. All of which just kind of naturally come with the subject. I was pretty excited to try this because it really seemed from the trailer like they had all aspects, the visuals, the puzzles and the story, down to a tee.

Well First off, the visuals are definitely what they seem. They are absolutely amazing. Although I was pretty gutted that for some reason Steam overlay wasn’t working for me with this game so no screenshots for me! There really is some amazing scenery in this game. I would actually go as far as to say this game is worth trying purely for that. But then again, not all people are as easily amused by how things look as I am.

The puzzle side to things were quite unclear from the trailer (maybe I just wasn’t paying attention) so I was a little unsure on what to expect. But I was actually pleasantly surprised by the mechanics when I played. They’re unique and if anything the mechanics for the puzzles actually enhance the visuals even more. You basically interact with “tumble weed” like balls, place them in various different “hotspots”, I guess, which change your surroundings. Each one doing something different, changing the scene in a particular way, you obviously needing to figure out how to manipulate the level into being able to move onward.

Now here is the iffy part.
A lot of reviews that I read before I started this game definitely mentioned the storyline/voice acting being the main problem. I went into the game not really expecting much because of it and to be honest maybe that is why I wasn’t as disappointed as others seemed to have been.
The voice acting is bearable through the most of it in my opinion, there was only one or two odd scenes which really were cringe-worthy to the point of giggling to myself like “REALLY?” despite it being a very serious and “emotional” scene.
The story on the other hand, to be fair, was a little poorly executed. You can… kiiind of? See what they were trying to do with it but it really could have been done better. The foundations for something great are there, but as it stands it is very “meh”.

Lastly, Achievements!
This game is a pretty easy one to 100%, there were a few I thought were going to be very tedious to try and get but it turns out they weren’t!
Apparently I have a total of 11 hours in this game, but honestly I think quite a lot of that is me standing around in the game hungover trying to solve puzzles (really wasn’t a good idea) and idling seeing as I wondered off a few times after being so stumped over one or two of the puzzles. So if a normal functioning human being wanted to 100% this I’m sure it’d be a lot less.

All in all though, during the playthrough I was very unsure the whole time, I didn’t really know what to think, had these negative reviews rattling around in my head lowering my expectations, but now I have finished it and I kind of sit and reflect a little, I still think this game is worth recommending. The story isn’t great but you can see what they are getting at. It’s not AMAZING, but it’s bearable.


TL;DR : Amazing visuals, iffy but bearable story and unique puzzle mechanics. Despite having a bit of a “I don’t know about this” attitude throughout the whole thing, after finishing it and looking back I would still say it’s worth a try.
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18 of 18 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
8.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 17
Mind: Path to Thalamus is the emotional aftermath of a careless father, one who dragged his children on trips to chase storms and other extreme weather. It’s a personal crusade that ultimately enacts cascading consequences: a fatal tsunami which swept away the narrator’s sister as he watched from the safety of a tree, his father nowhere to be found. A descent into drunken madness as a result of a broken family and an inability to believe in the truth of a sibling’s death. The narrator blames his father, but also himself, as he too chases extreme weather: the opening scene of the game is a massive tornado in which you must find your own daughter, named prophetically after your sibling.And thus begins a decade-long coma through which Mind: Path to Thalamus is a journey. As you make your way to the heady metaphor that is a giant tree called Thalamus, the road is paved with obstacles in the form of weather/environment changing abilities. Special areas—marked by gnarled trees, lilies, cairns, or slowly rotating gears—affect fog, night/day, rain, and time, respectively. Stand in their areas—or leave a spindly ball of glowing neurons in them—and the fog will expand, the sun will set, rain will fall, or ruins destroyed by time will grow whole again. Mastering these will be the nuts and bolts of your journey, the tools that let you pass into new areas and build up, more like Portal than Myst.Each map is nothing short of breathtaking in its complete disregard for spatial logic: chairs sit with their legs against walls, neat rows ordered to the ceiling. Railroad tracks truncate into blinding tunnels. Decaying ruins grow from an endless, ankle-high sea which reflects invisible, walkable segments floating above you. As the hollow avatar of the game’s narrator, you hold down W to move across these mindscapes, explore inner turmoil, solve puzzles, and listen to a voiceover that elucidates regret, dead sisters, drunken fathers, and shame.It’s incredibly ambitious subject matter from a young creator, but at times, it falls somewhat flat. All of this information is delivered in voiceover that pops up at the beginning of levels, whenever you solve a part of a puzzle, and so on, often in ornamental language or via out-of-place references. Awkward, overly poetic phrases make the game feel like a high school, compounded by a young voice actor who has a hard time passing for a father, let alone one who has been ravaged by life and death.Saying the game is about exploration may be a little reductive but it’s also true. It wasn’t the allure of puzzle solving that drew me in Mind. It wasn’t the developing powers over night and day, fog, clarity, or even time that are used to solve them. These elements deepened the gameplay in a necessary enjoyable way, but my ‘path to thalamus’ was characterized by soaking in each of the game’s environments. Puzzle solving, as tricky and inventive as the puzzles often were, was a means to an end: they were the reason to slow down and notice all that was around me. And that is why I will remember Mind.Mind: Path to Thalamus would never have existed ten years ago. Its abstract, high-minded premise isn’t one we would have seen from a big publisher. Instead, a single man and his small band of compatriots deliver on one of the most creative ideas of recent years.Mind is beautiful and its surreal environments will linger on with me longer after the story has faded. Exploration is its defining quality, even as the puzzle solving elevates above other exploratory games. For this reason, Mind: Path to Thalamus is an easy recommendation, even if its story falls a little short. This is a game that should be experienced.
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18 of 26 people (69%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 16, 2014
Some deep ♥♥♥♥. I might have cried, which is not good becasue then I can't see the beautiful envoriment in the game.

10/10
Would cry again.
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13 of 17 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 2
For games like this I am waiting for. It's not a Dear Esther, It's not an Anna, Its a new kind of riddles. Got this game for 4.64 greens in Humble Bundle and what I must to say is this is the best and most interesting game in 2014 year. That's for sure. Must have if you like to think and travel and getting more and more. For all Dear Esther and Anna fans.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 29, 2014
My experience playing this game was only after the revised narration was implemented, because of this I have no comparison of the monologue nightmare that some speak of before the changes.

The latest version of this game was absolutely stunning to play. Its presentation reminded me of the Myst series, however instead of a journey through a book it's a journey through the mind. The puzzles rely on some basic rules in order to open gateways to the next state of mind. Some parts are more beautiful and relaxed while others are chaotic and jumbled.

Puzzle solving relies mostly on using these neuron-looking spheres which, if placed in the right locations, can alter the state of the environment and/or time. Changing states in each world is how you bend the rules of each obstacle to complete the puzzles.

I definitely recommend this if you enjoy puzzle games, or even games that focus heavily on atmosphere and story.
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13 of 20 people (65%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 1
I really wanted to like this game. It's so pretty. And it seemed like such a good concept. But I can't get over the fact that I hate the puzzles. I really hate the puzzles. They just keep getting more vague, and I haven't enjoyed one yet. Playing this game feels like trying to read a book with speedbumps. If it had a "Dear Ester" mode that just autosolved the puzzles as you explore, I might love this game. But as is, I just can't say that I think it's pleasant.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 3
Quite interesting game with lot of logical puzzles. It's not a copy of Portal nor Antichamber but if you liked them, you will probably like that one too. At least I did!
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 17
Path to Thalamus was okay. It really feels like it was made by a college student who was trying way too hard to be deep and poetic, but the visuals were beautiful. The puzzles themselves were challenging, but often felt like part of the puzzle was finding all the pieces. Imagine if you had to solve a jigsaw puzzle but one of the pieces was hidden somewhere else in the room.
Another issue that I kept running into was that I couldn't tell that things were puzzle mechanics until after I had solved puzzles using them at least twice.
For all that said the game was still enjoyable and I played it all the way through to the end. The visuals and uniqueness of the mechanics make up for the rest of the game's shortcomings.
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
14.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 4
TLDR:
-Novel puzzles
-Gorgeous scenery
-Weak story
-Puzzle mechanics are poorly explained

Very pretty, with some fairly clever puzzles. However, it probably leaves a bit too much to trial and error. The story is fairly original, but ultimately fell flat for me.

It concerns a man who lost his daughter in a tsunami, who has since fallen into a coma. He's trying to find his daughter in his own mind, and escape from his mental state by solving abstract puzzles in the (really quite beautiful) landscapes of his unconcious. Interesting premise, however it's delivered entirely through poorly acted voiceover. The game doesn't really explain much about the protagonist or his daughter (at least in the first half of the game, I didn't finish it), so we don't really have an incentive to care all that much about either of them. So that really leaves the gameplay as the main drawcard.

There are some strong ideas when it comes to puzzles, however much of it fell flat due to the trial and error required to understand the basic mechanics. I'll explain them, if you don't mind being mildly spoiled on the mechanics. Essentially, there are areas on the ground that, when stood in, affect the level in various ways. Patches of white flowers will change the level to night, which opens various portals around the area, and makes balls of light become visible. Stone circles will bring on the rain, which raises certain wooden platforms. Tree arches/circles will make the level foggy, but remove spherical barriers blocking paths. These effects only apply while you're standing in the zones, so you'll need to place balls you find into them to change the states and solve the puzzles. This also means that if you enter an area and it's already dark, you know there's a ball in a flower patch somewhere. Once you've figured this out, the puzzle system becomes quite rewarding. But the trial and error required to get to that point can be irritating.

Ultimately, I gave up on playing about halfway through because I wasn't having much fun with the puzzles, and the story wasn't compelling enough for me to continue. There's definitely promise here though, and I'll be keeping an eye on future projects from this developer.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 13, 2014
2 words... Beautiful game
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 21
I wanted to like this game, and at times I did; but ultimately, the longer I played, the more I just wanted it to end. It's an abstract puzzle game, but the puzzles are unsatisfying and the story is too pretentious to connect with. It tries so hard to be clever and obscure that it comes across as corny. It's like, "look at me, I'm symbolic!" It's a sophmoric attempt at being deep and artistic.

It's not terrible, it has its moments, but there are far better puzzle/story games to play than this.

5.5/10
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 1
Feels more like a chore than a game.

Even from the "I'd like to relax" standpoint I can't find how and why I'd recomend this game. Not even to people new to gaming/entry-level.

The game features simple gameplay mechanics such as below and it doesn't explore them much at all:
  • Get Ball to put it on a switch
  • Timed switch
  • 3 different switches (up to where I played)

And the mirror hunt with the water reflected platforms at the beginning which for some reason never makes a return, unfortunatelly for which I found the most challenging/fun part of the game.

Have I mentioned that you walk SLOW AS F---?! And that there is a level consisting of a big open field with a lot of fog which forces you to wander, again slow as f-, trying to find your way and only leading into frustration when it fails (which happened to me like 6 times until I gave up).

The game's puzzles aren't intuitive at all but that would be fine if it didn't took so long to try solutions out because of the freaking walking speed.

tl;dr: Badly designed first person puzzle game with slow sparse narrative with SLOW ♥♥♥ GAMEPLAY.
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7 of 11 people (64%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2014
Beautiful , this is the word
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 4
Some aspects of the story in this game are a little odd, but its definitely worth a play through if you like puzzle games and psychology.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 30, 2014
This has been described as a First Person Puzzler. The story is a bit all over the place, but the payoff at the end chapter makes it worth sticking through; at which point you've lugged around enough glowy hamster exercise balls to last a lifetime.
The reason you should play this game is for the sheer, mind-boggling prettiness of the scenery. I've had to stop in mid-puzzle a few times and just ADMIRE how awe-inspiring the levels are, and what joy it felt just to BE in that space. I haven't seen anything like this since the Myst games, and this comes without any unreasonably difficult puzzles.
It is immersive exploration at its finest. A truly, truly beautiful game.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 4
While I did clear this in a short time early in the morning, to give my opinion this game was incredible. The places and settings were just so awesome to look at and be in. The story is curious and keeps you in and on top of that, it keeps you challenged with puzzles to solve to proceed. IF you like games like Dear Esther I recommend this game absolutely.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 17
Mind: Path to Thalamus is a visually stunning yet fairly straight forward exploration puzzler that has a rather literal take on it's title. The journey you'll undertake is that of a self loathing father working through his issues within his own mind. It's canvas ranging from symbolic manifestations of emotional issues to elaborate and stylistic visual representations of the brain. All of this accompanied by your characters poor attempt at a meaningful monologue. This is where Mind: Path to Thalamus falls short, it's narrative and it's presentation of it. The voice over is so jarring that it pulls you completely out of the otherwise beautiful visual journey. It breaks the narrative in such a way that it feels like nothing more than a college freshman's attempt at writting about life without any personal experience with anything related to the subject matter.

If the visuals intrest you, get it when it's on sale. If you're looking for a narrative masterpiece you're better off looking elsewhere.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 30
This really is something special. It's also clearly had a lot of love and care lavished on it, and it shows in the numerous updates since the game has launched to address criticism, and fine-tune the gameplay mechanics.

Mind: Path To Thalamus is a really difficult game to nail down. It could be erroneously referred to as either a puzzle game or (ugh) a "walking simulator", but neither would do the experience justice. Sure, violence is conspicuously absent, and the main mechanical thrust of the game is solving some very clever (but never obtuse or frustrating) puzzles. However, the game feels like much more than this, due to a very clear narrative thread that ties the various parts of the experience together, making a variety of visually stunning yet disparate environments form parts of an epic journey towards the Thalamus of the title.

Of particular note is the frozen tsunami towards the end, which stands out as one of the most visually striking game environments in recent memory, although Mind is full of surreal and mind-bogglingly beautiful environments. You'll traverse huge expanses of dreamlike field, navigate impossible geometry, fight a behemoth hundreds of feet high, and alter the environment itself.

In spite of various criticisms, I also feel the narrative deserves praise for touching on the themes of bereavement and family tragedy in a manner notably absent of sensationalism or tokenism. You never feel like the game is feeding you sentimentality, which it easily could have. Although the voice-acting can come across as rather melodramatic, the story being told feels low-key and relatable.

All in all, this is a fantastic purchase - a visual tour-de-force with finely honed puzzle-solving gameplay, good story, and a beautiful licensed soundtrack. Recommended without a shadow of a doubt.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 11, 2014
Interesting game, great visuals, emotional soundtrack. I've been wanting to try this one for a while, so when I saw it on sale, I bought it right away. The gameplay is approximately 4-5 hrs, so for a few bucks, it's well worth it. The trailer sucked me right in, but unfortunately, I wasn't as immersed into the 'Mind' as I thought I'd be... At first glance, the levels look spectacular. But then after walking around for a while, you realize that the level design is usually limited to a small boxed off area (delineated by a picket fence in the game) with invisible walls. All of the backgrounds are just static images, so no matter how long you stare at the gorgeous artful of the sky, there's nothing dynamic about it at all. Some of the puzzles are very clever (I definitely encountered a few head scratchers), but most of them feel a tedious for no reason. The story is also quite confusing, and any in-game 'NPCs' look and feel like they were copied straight from an N64 game. It's too bad because this game had so much going for it, but the static environments, tedious puzzles, rigid characters, and confusing story made it really difficult to fully immerse myself in what the game developers had to offer. Still a great buy to have some fun for a night.
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